Andrew Coleman talks to Muse’s Matt Bellamy about his unwanted reputation.

Whatever you do, don’t call Matt Bellamy eccentric.

He’s just caught a glimpse of a prestigious music magazine, of which he adorns this month’s cover, and he knows what they’ve written before he even turns to the article.

“’Matt’s an oddball’, ‘Matt’s paranoid’ is it?” asks the frontman of Muse, who play Birmingham NIA on November 10.

Well, kind of, comes the meek response.

“It’s always the same and it’s boring,” he adds. “The thing is, I was talking to them about other stuff that’s much more interesting and serious; constitutional reform, how we should change the way we vote for the Prime Minister and that sort of thing. But no, they’re more interested in lizards,” he says, coming to the end of his mini, if well-mannered, rant.

You see, Matt’s very interested in conspiracy theories, whether they’re concerning the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, America secretly running the world or, as he says, the idea, once peddled by ex-Coventry goalkeeper-turned-professional-crackpot David Icke, that our very own Queen and other world leaders are related to a secret race of shape-shifting reptiles from the Alpha Draconis star system.

That doesn’t mean he believes them though.

“I’m not so interested in them now, but I definitely was,” begins the 31-year-old, having just been handed a double espresso. As if he needed fuel for his fire. Even as he’s being absorbed by the oversized soft furnishings of his hotel suite, Matt is hugely energetic; bouncing around, changing topic at the drop of a hat or going into great detail to explain what he thinks.

“Conspiracy always stinks of paranoia, but I am genuinely interested in researching the mechanisms behind powerful organisations. I feel I missed so much at school, and there are so many things I want to know, but they weren’t taught to me.

“Because of that, and because I watch the news and see these things going on in front of me, I’m drawn to research. That can take you down weird paths, but that doesn’t mean I believe them.

“You can find loads of stuff about 9/11 on the internet, and it’s interesting, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. I think believing something that’s completely unproven is the beginning of madness – you can look at religion that way too.

“I’d just say I’m a devout rational thinker, or at least trying to be one.

“But it doesn’t matter how much I talk about that sort of thing,” he says, drawing to a close on the subject. “People just want to hear about the lizards.”

While Matt might not believe in such crazy theories, his quest for knowledge certainly informs much of the band’s new album, The Resistance, released today.

Its title, for starters, is the band cocking a snook at consumerism and the mass media’s blanket coverage of global events. Its contents are even less subtle, with Matt screaming “I want the truth,” on Unnatural Selection, while on MK Ultra, he begs the question “How much deception can you take, how many lies can you make?”

“I suppose it’s about wanting people to wake up,” he says. “But I think that’s happening anyway. With the globalisation effect of the Internet, people are more conscious about what’s happening in the world, and what’s being carried out in their name,” he says.

As has come to be expected from the Devon trio, The Resistance, picking up perfectly from their last opus Black Holes And Revelations, is truly epic in its scale, ambitious in its purpose.

For proof, look no further than the album’s closer; a symphony entitled Exogenesis which comes in three movements – Overture, Cross Pollination and Redemption.

Mention Exogenesis to Matt, and how intense a listening experience it is, and he emits an impish smile. He knows exactly what impression finishing an album with a three-part symphony gives off. And he seems happy to play with, dare we suggest even live up to, the reputation for making bombastic music. Matt, however, believes it’s all about where you’re approaching Muse’s music from.

“My reference for what is powerful or epic or overblown music comes from the classical genre rather than popular music,” he explains.

“I’m thinking of things like the soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey, which everyone knows, or composers like Strauss, Berlioz or Carl Orff. That to me is really epic music.

“When I listen to that sort of music it blows my head off, it’s so heavy and intense and really makes you understand the power within humans.

“They all go a hell of a lot further than we do, but I suppose if you compare us to pop or rock acts, then we do go into territory which is emotionally unfamiliar to people who don’t listen to that music.

“It genuinely still surprises me how everyone thinks our music is over the top. I’ve sort of learned to see how they’re seeing it, and I can see the funny side of it. It’s like if you started playing opera now, out of context and you just heard a small segment from the middle.

“You might laugh at it, thinking it was some warbling woman and it’d sound ridiculous, but if you follow the narrative of the piece, and if you understand the emotion of what’s happening at that point, it doesn’t seem over the top.”

Say what you like about Muse - as Matt highlights, their music is almost constantly referred to as overblown, over-the-top or grandiose – but they can never be accused of being pompous.

The band are aware when they touch upon the ridiculous, and never more so than on The Resistance.

Opener and current single Uprising owes more than a nod to the Doctor Who theme, while United States Of Eurasia begins as a lighter-waving piano ballad before transforming into a pounding, operatic melodrama – which is a long-winded way of saying it’s a dead ringer for most of Queen’s back-catalogue.

It’s all done with a tongue planted firmly in the cheek, and helps to relieve unwanted tension, or the sense that Matt and bandmates Dom Howard and Chris Wolstenhome are taking themselves too seriously.

“This was definitely the most fun we’ve had making a record,” says Matt. “The music might be heavy, but the experience of making it was very light-hearted.

* INFO: November 10: NIA.Tickets: £41.25 from 0844 338 8000 or